Summary of the Programme Document
February 2017

1. Introduction
The Bio-resources Innovations Network for Eastern Africa Development (BioInnovate) Programme is a regional initiative established in 2010 with support from Sida to support bioscience research and innovation activities in eastern Africa. It addresses regional priorities in science, technology and innovation aligned with the AU-NEPAD’s Science Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA), the science agenda for Africa (S3A) and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). The Programme envisions a region with an ecosystem that supports bio-innovation as a driver for sustainable growth.
The absence of proper technology and business incubation mechanisms, as well as enabling policy that would move bioscience innovations along the innovation chain and to the marketplace, has been a big hindrance in integrating bioresources into key sectors like agriculture, environment, and industry in eastern Africa. Conscious of the limited capability of the research organisations and academia in the region to move research output from the experimental set up to the marketplace, BioInnovate has applied an innovation systems approach to catalyse the translation of research outputs to innovations in a sustainable manner for impact.
The Programme is among the few that support a designed multidisciplinary bioscience innovation funding mechanism anchored on the establishment of innovation platforms that assemble critical players along the bio-innovation value chain, to apply and promote bioscience innovations. BioInnovate supports projects in the six eastern African countries of Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. BioInnovate is the only initiative in the region that applies an integrated approach linking value addition and agroprocessing with primary agricultural production and environmental stewardship, as well as innovation policy and sustainability analysis. BioInnovate links public research organisations and universities with smallholder farmers and the private sector. This linkage improves the chances of eastern African smallholder farmers, agribusinesses and agro-processors benefitting from the rapidly developing field of bioscience. In this manner, BioInnovate contributes towards the development of a bioeconomy in the region; specifically, renewable biological resources are converted into value added products leading to sustainable economic, social and environmental development, thus contributing to
poverty alleviation and inclusive growth.

BioInnovate Phase I (2010–2015) supported 9 consortia-based innovation and policy projects involving
57 regional and international partners. Through its consortia, the programme developed new crop
varieties of sorghum (10), finger millet (15), cassava (9), sweet potato and potato (20) that are droughttolerant,
disease-resistant and adaptable to various agroecological zones in eastern Africa. A regional
consortium was also established to exchange/share sorghum and millet-based product technologies
among the three partner countries of Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania through academia–industry
partnerships. In partnership with industrial processors, technologies for commercial production of clear
malt drink, instant flour, complementary composite flour, and snack products from sorghum were
developed and pilot tested for market and economic feasibility. A model seed system involving research
institutions, micro-propagating private sector players and NGOs that rapidly multiplies quality sweet
potato plantlets was also tested in Uganda and Kenya.
In addition, seven (7) industrially preferred canning-bean varieties were released and are being taken
up by the private sector in the region. These bean varieties show strong promise of impacting farmer
livelihoods, creating business opportunities for traders and removing bottlenecks that the processing
industry faces in accessing good quality canning beans. Furthermore, innovative solutions for
biopesticides and bioenhancers for maize, tomato and eggplant were developed.
The Programme also developed innovative approaches adaptable to the local environment for
wastewater treatment that not only focus on meeting environmental standards but also resource
recovery. The innovations entail treating the wastewater through a two-step process involving biodigestion
followed by a polishing step using a constructed wetland that purifies the water further to
meet national discharge standards. The innovative systems installed at the three industrial sites in
Tanzania, Uganda, and Ethiopia resulted in 99% removal of pollutants, thus meeting effluent discharge
standards and at the same time capturing methane as biogas, which is combusted to recover energy. The
process also generates nutrient-rich sludge that can be used for crop cultivation and nutrients for
hydroponic systems. Furthermore, new ways of using sisal and coffee wastes as substrates for
mushroom growing and recovering biogas from the used substrate were piloted in Kenya, Tanzania,
and Ethiopia.
In Phase I vital policy support information and tools were generated to facilitate uptake and adoption
of the technologies that the BioInnovate consortia in the region developed. Capacity building activities
resulted in the training of 7 PhDs and 38 MScs through the Programme’s consortium based projects.
BioInnovate Phase I demonstrated and shared experiences on the deployment of a regional competitive
multicountry, multidisciplinary and multistakeholder biosciences innovation funding mechanism aimed
at catalysing the translation of research outputs into scalable and impactful innovations, through the
creation and strengthening of innovation platforms. It reveals lessons on what has worked and can be
considered good practice and what did not work, to guide future Programme design and

BioInnovate Phase II builds on the achievements of Phase I, and addresses recommendations of the
BioInnovate Mid-Term and Final Reviews. The main difference between BioInnovate Phase I and
BioInnovate Phase II is that the programme will develop more capacity and devote more resources
towards assisting innovation projects move further along the innovation chain into the market. In Phase
II, the BioInnovate Programme will develop robust mechanisms for supporting innovation for inclusive
growth. In so doing, it will cultivate relationships with key partners who can deliver innovations to endusers
and generate investment from the private sector and social investors. BioInnovate Phase II will
also develop selective partnerships with key actors playing a critical role in bridging the gap between
innovative research and sustainable end-user impact. BioInnovate Phase II intends to take advantage of
the experiences from Phase I to develop the best bioscience innovation platform in Africa. Phase II will
build on the earlier Sida investment in this area, to create a stronger innovation-driven, user-oriented
platform that promotes inclusive and sustainable growth in the region.
3.1 BioInnovate Phase II Thematic Areas
The thematic focus areas for BioInnovate Phase II build on and strengthen some of the focus areas in
Phase I, but with a more targeted approach towards opportunities that have the capability of delivering
value to smallholder farmers and agribusinesses within the next five years. The focus areas for
BioInnovate II are: (1) value addition to agro-produce and creation of agribusiness opportunities for
smallholder farmers; (2) value addition to agrowaste/biowaste, in support of climate change mitigation
and environmental sustainability; and (3) development of policies, capacity and tools to deliver
developed bioscience innovations to resource-poor farming and agroprocessing systems.
The primary goal of Bio-Innovate Phase II is to improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers and
profitability of agroprocessing enterprises in eastern Africa, while ensuring environmental
sustainability. The intended outcome of BioInnovate Phase II is enhanced capacity of Eastern African
universities, research organisations and firms, to translate modern biosciences into innovations targeting
smallholder farmers and agroprocessing enterprises in the region.
Below are the specific objectives:
a. Generate biosciences innovations that address the needs of smallholder farmers and agro-processors
in the region.
BioInnovate Phase II will support scientists from the public sector (universities and public research
organisations) to work with social entrepreneurs and the private sector to carry out high quality demanddriven
research in support of innovations that add value to agroproduce and agro-wastes/biowastes.
These innovative products or services will be pilot tested and incubated to assess their commercial
viability. Pilot demonstrations and distribution systems, which involve end users, will be an essential
element of the projects. Additionally, linkages will be created to ensure that all the complementary
skills required in an innovation system are available to participating partner organisations and/or
affiliated organisations. Students at MSc, PhD, and postdoctoral levels will participate in the research
teams, not only to provide research support but also to be trained in relevant skills to promote bioscience
innovation that benefits smallholder farmers and agroprocessing actors. Furthermore, scientists will be
trained, through targeted short-term courses, in new techniques and processes of value addition,
entrepreneurship, business development and related topics.

b. Evaluate relevant policy options to support scientists in their effort to promote bioscience innovations
for smallholder farmers and agroprocessors
BioInnovate Phase II will support the identification, analysis and evaluation of policies, regulations and
incentives relevant to the needs of project teams within the BioInnovate Programme. The Programme
will also support a range of targeted activities geared towards implementation of policies within
participating partner organisations or relevant government agencies that address the needs of
BioInnovate scientists along with smallholder farmers and agroprocessors. Part of the policy analysis
and evaluation will include techno-economic assessment and market feasibility studies for the
technologies or products developed by the Programme.
c. Establish BioInnovate as an independent, legally registered non-for-profit “Eastern Africa regional
network for bioscience innovations (EARNBIN)”
BioInnovate Phase II will specifically support the transition of the Programme into an independent legal
entity for bioscience innovations promotion in eastern Africa. This regional entity will ensure continuity
of the network of bioscientists and innovators created during Bio-EARN and BioInnovate Phases I &
II. The entity will also create new networks that will ensure continued translation of modern biosciences
into useful products and services for the benefit of smallholder farmers and agroprocessing actors in
eastern Africa. The process of establishing the entity will include consultations with, and buy-in from,
key regional stakeholders (such as the national councils and commissions for science and technology,
universities, the private sector, public research organisations and other regional scientific
organisations). It will also involve preparing the entity’s charter and documents necessary to get it
registered within the region.
3.2 Programme Design
BioInnovate Phase II will, through the BioInnovate Competitive Grants Mechanism, support specific
innovation projects in the target thematic areas. BioInnovate projects for inclusion in Phase II will be
selected through a competitive process and will be based on clear criteria that include: relevance to the
Programme’s overall objective; demonstrated to be demand driven; strategic value; scientific, technical
and knowledge excellence; capacity building; potential for implementation; market knowledge
(including potential competitiveness); position along the innovation chain; private sector linkages;
smallholder farmer participation; quality of the project team and project management; linking to best
practices; and regional benefit. Phase II projects will consist of the most successful and promising
innovation projects from phase I (3–5 projects) and new projects (7–10 projects).
Calls for proposals for innovative projects will be made during the first and second year targeting 10
innovative consortium projects starting up in year 1, and 5 starting up in year 2. Each innovation
consortium project will consist of public sector actors linked with the private sector, smallholder
farmers and other product delivery agents from within and outside the region in the process of designing
and implementing the projects. Furthermore, each consortium project will include research and capacity
building activities related to value addition, policy analysis, and product incubation. Capacity building
activities may include short-term training as well as graduate training.
To assist projects to effectively move forward along the innovation chain, a Stage-Gate process will be
applied as a crucial and effective instrument to manage all projects, thus enabling progression of
successful projects and adjustment or termination of non-performing ones. Stop-Go decisions will be
made in a timely manner and will be based on clear criteria. The Stage-Gate process breaks each project
into discrete and identifiable stages, where each Stage is designed to gather information needed to move
the project forward to the next gate or decision point. The Stage-Gate process is also a suitable
mechanism to handle and effectively phase out inefficient or less successful projects.
3.3 Programme Management and Hosting
Programme management will be strengthened with increased competence in entrepreneurship, business,
and marketing skills. Phase II Programme management will consist of a Programme Advisory
Committee, a Programme Management Office and Consortium Project Leaders in the implementing
organisations in the region. The Programme is based at the world headquarters of the International
Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi, Kenya, to strengthen regional ownership.
3.4 Funding
BioInnovate Phase II is funded by Sida to the tune of SEK 100.7 million for five years. BioInnovate
welcomes complementary funding from partners, recognising the increased costs that are likely to be
incurred, as projects move further along the innovation chain. Already, there is a positive indication
that some of the national councils and commissions for science and technology in the region will show
commitment to provide both in-kind and direct financial support as matching funds in the process of
implementing country-specific BioInnovate-supported innovative projects. Additionally, private sector
actors involved in implementing the Phase II innovative projects are also expected to contribute 25%
of the total project budget as complementary matching funds. Moreover, concerted efforts will be made
to mobilise resources from other potential donors and impact investors, as well as social and private
sector investors.